Right now has never been a better time to head for a trip to Myanmar (Burma). It’s a name that may raise a few eyebrows from friends but that’s to be expected as it has been intermittently closed off for foreign travellers over the years. For now at least the doors are open again and there is much to see and marvel at in this hidden land which time seems to have forgotten. Even if your short on time there is plenty to see and do in just a weekend trip.
Here are some of the main highlights to look out for:
1. Downtown Yangon
For most visitors to Myanmar, Yangon will be the port of call for entering the country. From here it’s easy to reach other destinations like Inle Lake, Bagan or Mandaley. But there is a bit to see in this old colonial town.
Controlled by the British between 1855 and 1948, Myanmar has a lot of colonial heritage that be mainly seen the old Victorian buildings of Yangon. Some of the best can be seen from Mahabendula park, many in various states of decline though a few have been restored.
Schwedagon Pagoda is a sight that’s hard to miss and the main attraction in Yangon. Few other temples quite prepare you for seeing this up close. It’s best visited in the evening as shows are not allowed and the stone floor can become unbearably hot.
If you love sunsets then you won’t be soon forgetting the one you see here. Known for its well preserved and stunning temples, Bagan truly seems like a place time forgot. The easiest way to get there from Yangon is by night train which is an experience in itself. The area is home to the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples in the world. What makes the site so stunning is the way in which the temples have aged. Micro twisters spin a lot of dust through the air which has pealed the outer layer of the temples off, revealing structural bricks with a rusty, reddish colour that seem to turn golden in the sunlight.
What makes the site so stunning is the way in which the temples have aged. Micro twisters spin a lot of dust through the air which has pealed the outer layer of the temples off, revealing structural bricks with a rusty, reddish colour that seem to turn golden in the sunlight.
Often referred to as the Venice of Southeast Asia’ Inle is a place where everything is done water. Here you can experience floating restaurants, hotels, and even monasteries. Renting a boat is one of the top things to do, allowing you to easily get around and see how the local fishermen row their boats one-legged.
October to May is the best time to go when you can avoid the annual rainy season. If at all possible don’t settle for just a weekend trip, stay for a whole week or even a month as there is so much to experience in this beautiful country.